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The Respect Dare, Day 35 – Live with Him in an Understanding Way

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A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.  Proverbs 18:2

OUCH!

I remember when I was learning about respect and really began seeking with all my heart to honor God and become the godly woman He wanted me to be – and it hit me that I was often doing the things that “fools” do in Proverbs.

That was a startling realization.

I always assumed I was classified along with the “wise.”  But then God began to show me my behavior and just how many of the “foolish” things I had been doing.

OUCH!  OUCH!  OUCH!

If you begin to study Proverbs and apply these words of wisdom to your marriage – it can be shocking.  Put your name in the place of “fool” and the “wise man” in Proverbs and think about your marriage.

“April finds no pleasure in understanding Greg, but delights in airing her own opinions.”  – You know what?  That was TOTALLY ME.

I didn’t really seek to understand Greg those first 14+ years of our marriage.  I knew that I was “right” after all.  Why waste my time understanding someone who is so “clearly wrong”?  I had it in my head that I was:

  • spiritually so much more mature than he was
  • morally superior to him
  • much closer to God than he was
  • able to discern God’s will (and I assumed that he could not do this nearly as well as I could)

PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE and self-righteousness.  🙁  Mountains of it.  All of that had to go.

I love what Nina Roesner says in The Respect Dare today,

“Many women erroneously look toward marriage as the place where all their hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.  Instead, we need to look at marriage as a context through which we will grow more as a person…  Marriage is a context through which we have the opportunity to become more holy, not necessarily happier.”

AMEN!!!!!!!!

That one concept alone could revolutionize our marriages and completely alter our expectations in the most wonderful ways.

The true story in The Respect Dare on Day 35 brings me to tears.  A husband calls his wife and asks her to bring the tax folder to him.  She is exhausted, the sick baby is asleep.  She lists all the reasons she can’t bring it and telling him what a horrible day she has had.  He comes home to get it, jeopardizing his job by leaving early again (unbeknownst to his wife), feeling exhausted himself and feeling invisible with the arrival of their new baby.

Nina’s main message today,

“Don’t be so caught up in your own life that you forget to make your husband feel important today.”

MY HUSBAND

I remember talking with Greg as I was reading various books about respect that mentioned how husbands can feel like they “lose” their wives to the new baby once a baby arrives.  I VERY PURPOSELY tried NOT to make our children more important than my husband.  This was before I learned about respect and biblical submission, though.

I asked him years later, “Did you feel alienated and left out when we had our babies?”  And I was SHOCKED when he said, “Of course I did.”

WOW!

Now, of course, I know that I was also coming across as very critical and judgmental of him.  And, because I had read all the latest baby books and he hadn’t, I easily assumed I knew so much more than he did about how to take the best care of the baby.

I remember trying to include him on things.  I was nursing, so he really couldn’t get up with the baby to feed him/her.  But I had NO IDEA that he felt left out of our family and my life.  I knew that I felt left out of his life because he was often watching tv a lot or on the computer.  I remember feeling very invisible to him many times.  I would beg him to tell me what he needed from me.  He wouldn’t answer or didn’t know how to verbalize it.  And I had no clue.  And all that time, he was feeling ignored somehow, too.

UGH!

NOW:

  • I know that my husband has valuable wisdom to share with me
  • I know that his opinion and perspective is at least as important as mine is
  • I seek to put myself in my husband’s shoes and try to understand what it is like to live in his world and see how I can most bless him each day
  • I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
  • I give him the benefit of the doubt.  I assume the best about him now instead of the worst

QUESTIONS:

  • Ask your husband if he feels more important to you than anyone else in the world (including your children, your parents, your friends, your church, etc.)  Then LISTEN to his response.  If he feels safe, he will share the truth with you.  If he doesn’t want to answer – assume he does not feel safe – and assume you have work to do in this area.
  • How can you make your husband feel very important to you this week?  What is one thing you can do?
  • What can you do to thank your husband for working to provide for the family on a frequent basis (if he has a job)?

DARE 35:

  • Figure out what is important to  your husband and begin to do those things!  Ask him if you need to.

Example:

  • My husband likes for me to be off of the computer by 10:00pm so we can have time together.
  • He likes the front hallway to be relatively neat and orderly.
  • He likes me to not stress myself out about things, not to over schedule or expect too much of myself to the point that I get overwhelmed.
  • He likes me to work about 8-12 hours/week in the pharmacy (This has been a bit more of a challenge since my hours got cut.  But, so far, God has provided at least as many hours every month doing relief work as I had been getting before.  I am thankful for this because it is important to my husband.)
  • He likes me to sit and cuddle with him while he watches tv at night.

I also try to

  • initiate intimacy sometimes and/or be receptive but also be aware of times when he is tired or not feeling well and extend grace.
  • be responsive to his needs- spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically
  • stop what I am doing and really LISTEN whenever he wants to talk
  • give him a BIG WELCOME HOME every day
  • cook meals I know he likes and try to avoid making chicken tacos once he finally told me he doesn’t like that.

Every week or so, I ask him a question like this:

  • “What can I do for you this week?”
  • “What would you like me to focus on today?”
  • “Is there anything you’d like me to change?”
  • “Is there something you would like me to cook for you or keep on hand that I have not been getting?

PS:

If doing one dare every day is too overwhelming – slow down!  If you need to take a few days for one dare – that is totally fine.  Go at whatever pace you need to.  If this is the first time you have been exposed to many of these concepts, you may need to take several days to absorb some of these ideas.  That is ok!

14 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 35 – Live with Him in an Understanding Way

  1. Thank you, April! You have helped open my eyes to some of my foolish ways! It was quite a shock to realize what I had been doing!

    1. Bridget,

      Isn’t it, though? It’s weird how it is so possible to be completely blind to my own sin – and at the same time be SO CONVINCED that I can see my husband’s sin clearly enough to tell him what to do constantly.

      Seeing the sin is the first step towards healing. It is SO PAINFUL!!! But this is the path to God’s joy, peace and abundant life – embracing humility, focusing on my own sin, seeking Christ first and desiring to purge my life of my wisdom and replace it with God’s wisdom.

      Much love to you!

  2. “I always assumed I was classified along with the “wise.” But then God began to show me my behavior and just how many of the “foolish” things I had been doing.”

    I remember the day God first showed me this about myself – YUCK. I had been so prideful because Darrell was not a believer, so I figured, of course I’ve got the wisdom from God and he doesn’t. BOY was I wrong!

    1. Robyn,

      Once God opens your eyes to it – it is pretty impossible to ignore, isn’t it???? But how thankful I am that He allowed me to see as He sees. I know without Him showing me my sin, I would still be doing the exact same stuff right now. He is SO GOOD!

  3. You know I definitely considered that being married meant that all my needs would be fulfilled. I truly thought that if he and I thought the same and were on the same path then that meant happiness. It never occurred to me even once that he was an different person with his own perspectives. It’s not that I thought he was wrong, in fact he’s very smart and usually right. It’s more that I didn’t want to feel inadequate when I was wrong. I assumed the role of idol to him and to me this meant that he would always be on my side and always agree with me. Admitting I was wrong meant stepping of my pedestal. And then he would see how unworthy I was and leave me.
    I hated being told something that he wanted me to work on because I can’t stand the criticism. So actually asking him is really very terrifying to my sinful nature.
    He often says “ok if we do this we are going to do it my way, exactly the way I say. If you trust me it’ll get done fast and it will be fun”
    I always heard “do it my way exactly” and got defensive straight away. Thereby eliminating
    “trust me” (he’s trying desperately to be respected)
    – “Get it done fast” (he is clever, resourceful and has opinions that count)
    – “it will be fun (there are blessings available in every situation)
    I have been a fool. Quick to anger, slow to listen and eager to defend my own opinions.

    I can already assume he doesn’t feel safe, I need to be consistently respectful over a period of time so I’m still not going to ask him what he wants me to work on. I already know:
    – have all the washing completely done each week
    – plan the grocery shopping and weekly meals
    – try to eat foods that are natural anti inflammatories and happy hormone friendly
    – have all grocery shopping put away in containers with labels.
    I have made great effort to improve in these areas and he is noticing but he is also accustomed to me giving up after a short time. I pray for Christ’s strength to maintain what I have been learning about respect.

    1. Tam,
      I had so much pride, too. SO MUCH! How could I not see it? I expected my husband to accept my role as idol, as well. I expected him to agree with me and do things my way – I was “right” after all!

      I LOVE how you are beginning to really hear your husband’s messages and his heart.

      I also love that you already know what you need to work on. I am SO excited that you are applying yourself towards those things. I pray for God to give you the power to do this and for you to rest and abide in Christ constantly!

      Much love my precious girl!

  4. You are not kidding about that feeling overwhelmed part! I started this book at the beginning of January and it’s nearly halfway through April!!! But I’ve been steady and reading so much. It feels like I took that matrix pill and woke up from a bad dream.

    I loooove putting your name in for fool in proverbs to get a real heart check. what an honest contrast to putting your name in for ‘love’ in 1 Corinthians 13. Thank you for that awesome Bible tool.

    Just recently I realized I haven’t been trustworthy with truth. I’ve used it as a way to puff myself up. There was no softening of the blow of honesty, no honoring the hearer’s dignity by saying something in private, or keeping my tone empathetic, etc. It took me a solid week to really get this. I’ve never been an assertive person but I always jumped at the chance to be well heard when I was right. Now I’m gaining better skills at speaking up for myself and I realize it comes with responsibility. When I considered what might be important to my husband I realized it was something he could probably never put into words. “When you plainly see my weaknesses, protect my dignity”

    I’ll be working on that for awhile.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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